Saturday, May 19, 2018

More Lyme workingroup updates

Two more meetings of Working Group; New Lyme legislation introduced in Congress
This was a big week for the Lyme community in Washington DC.

First off, the Tick-Borne Disease Working Group met for two day-long sessions. Read our summaries here:

Then, on Friday, May 18, Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey introduced the National Lyme and Tick-Borne Diseases Control and Accountability Act of 2018. Read more here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Live broadcast of the HHS subcommittee

Sorry for the late notice, but I just last night received instructions for watching the federal Lyme disease panel online when it meets to discuss its recently-released subcommittee reports on Tuesday and Wednesday. (May 15 and May 16) 

This is the federal-level Health and Human Services Lyme subgroup related to the Cures Act. 

The hours will be Tuesday, May 15 from 9 a.m. to 7:45 p.m.,

and Wednesday, May 16 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

I'm watching it now, online, and all I had to do was click on the link above (or copy and paste it into your browser address bar).

-Bob Cowart

Monday, May 14, 2018

TBD’s Working Group’s Subcommittee Reports Now Available

Tick-borne disease research update from the US government has become available for reading by the public.

Subcommitte reports have been posted on the Health and Human Services website.


Monday, May 7, 2018

Is there a Lyme Vaccine?

People often ask me about the Lyme vaccine. Is there a vaccine? 

Why The 1998 Lyme vaccine was withdrawn from the market because of serious side effects and serious limitations. At the time, and for years after, GlaxoSmithKline (now called GSK) often circulated a story that "anti-vaxxers" or "poor sales" were the cause of the withdrawal of the Lymerix vaccine. GSK settled a class action suit with patients who developed a chronic arthritis after receiving the Lymerix vaccine, but those who received the vaccine received nothing from the settlement. 

Several subsequent published papers discussed problems with the vaccine:

Side effects included a portion of the population developing a permanent arthritis. Limitations included the unfortunate situation that 20 percent of those vaccinated would still get Lyme Disease.  The vaccine lacked testing in children. It was only effective against a single strain.  Immunity lasted only a year and it offered no protection against co-infections including babesiosis or anaplasmosis. 

The CDC issued a Morbidity and Mortality Report on June 4, 1999, titled, "Recommendations for the Use of Lyme Vaccine

Here's a somewhat surprising quotation from the 1999 document given CDCs habit of denial of chronic Lyme symptoms in the years following.

"Infrequently, Lyme disease morbidity can be severe, chronic, and disabling (8,9 ). An ill-defined post-Lyme disease syndrome occurs in some persons after treatment for Lyme disease." 

And finally, here is a link to a paper discussing the 1998 Lyme vaccine:

The Lyme Vaccine: A Cautionary Tale

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Tick and mosquito-borne diseases rise in the US - CNN

Good article in text and videos about the tripling of mosquitos and ticks that are carrying diseases such as Lyme and related coinfections. Here is a reality check.


Monday, April 23, 2018

A clue on the connection between the microbiome and autoimmune disease

Lab Chat: How migrating gut bacteria might do damage


Scientists have discovered a particular microbe that can venture out of the gut and set up shop in other organs, where it seems to trigger an autoimmune response that's similar to what's seen in patients with lupus. The finding gives researchers new clues about the potential link between the microbiome and autoimmune disease. Here's what Dr. Martin Kriegel of Yale told me about the work, published in Science.

What did you discover about a potential link between the microbiome and lupus?

Studies have suggested autoimmune disease might have a microbial trigger. We gave mice that modeled autoimmune disease broad spectrum antibiotics to manipulate the microbes in the gut. We almost completely prevented mortality. But a big hurdle is figuring out which bacteria are behind the link, and how. So we tracked the bacteria with fluorescent tags.

What did you see?

We saw that E. Gallinarum bacteria somehow crossed the barrier of the gut and impacted immune cells. The bacteria tipped the balance from being prone to developing autoimmune disease to actually developing it. When we went to human liver tissue, we also found these microbes. We think it drives important autoimmune pathways.

Journal article:

Translocation of a gut pathobiont drives autoimmunity in mice and humans

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Lyme Controversy & The Psychiatric/Cognitive Effects From Tickborne Infections

Here's a presentation by a psychiatrist who is very well versed in Lyme, about the weird brain symptoms that Lyme and coinfections in the nervous system can cause. 


Saturday, April 14, 2018

Fwd: Putting Lyme on the national stage

Excellent book. Please help promote it. I heard Mary Beth speak about the book and her research while writing it. We need to spread the word about Lyme and the inequities foisted upon us as Lyme patients. Please explore the links in this email and forward this to friends and family, to doctors, legislators, etc.


Putting Lyme on the national stage
Here's how you can help
The more buzz created about this book, the more likely it will garner national media attention.

And that can help bring about substantial change. Topics that don't get talked about on the public stage are too easily ignored by policy makers. READ MORE.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Persistent Borrelia Infection in Patients with Ongoing Symptoms of Lyme Disease

This is an important study. 


Persistent Borrelia Infection in Patients with Ongoing Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Version 1 : Received: 7 March 2018 / Approved: 8 March 2018 / Online: 8 March 2018 (07:08:02 CET) 
How to cite: Middelveen, M.J.; Sapi, E.; Burke, J.; Filush, K.R.; Franco, A.; Fesler, M.C.; Stricker, R.B. Persistent Borrelia Infection in Patients with Ongoing Symptoms of Lyme Disease. Preprints 2018, 2018030062 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201803.0062.v1). Middelveen, M.J.; Sapi, E.; Burke, J.; Filush, K.R.; Franco, A.; Fesler, M.C.; Stricker, R.B. Persistent Borrelia Infection in Patients with Ongoing Symptoms of Lyme Disease. Preprints 2018, 2018030062 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201803.0062.v1). 

Introduction: Lyme disease is a tickborne illness that generates controversy among medical providers and researchers. One of the key topics of debate is the existence of persistent infection with the Lyme spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, in patients who have been treated with recommended doses of antibiotics yet remain symptomatic. Persistent spirochetal infection despite antibiotic therapy has recently been demonstrated in non-human primates. We present evidence of persistent Borrelia infection despite antibiotic therapy in patients with ongoing Lyme disease symptoms. 

Materials & Methods: In this pilot study, culture of body fluids and tissues was performed in a randomly selected group of 12 patients with persistent Lyme disease symptoms who had been treated or who were being treated with antibiotics. Cultures were also performed on a group of 10 control subjects without Lyme disease. The cultures were subjected to corroborative microscopic, histopathological and molecular testing for Borrelia organisms in four independent laboratories in a blinded manner. Results: Motile spirochetes identified histopathologically as Borrelia were detected in culture specimens, and these spirochetes were genetically identified as Borrelia burgdorferi by three distinct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods. Spirochetes identified as Borrelia burgdorferi were cultured from the blood of seven subjects, from the genital secretions of ten subjects, and from a skin lesion of one subject. Cultures from control subjects without Lyme disease were negative for Borrelia using these methods. 

Conclusions: Using multiple corroborative detection methods, we showed that patients with persistent Lyme disease symptoms may have ongoing spirochetal infection despite antibiotic treatment, similar to findings in non-human primates. The optimal treatment for persistent Borrelia infection remains to be determined. 

Subject Areas Lyme disease; Borrelia burgdorferi; Tickborne disease; Chronic infection; Spirochete culture 

Copyright: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.